Philip Vannatter, Detective in O.J Simpson Case, Dies at Age 70

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By Kris Coombs, Christian Post Contributor
January 24, 2012|9:08 am

Philip Vannatter, the O.J Simpson case's lead investigator, died on Sunday in Southern California at 70 years old.

Vannatter died of complications from cancer, his brother told The Associated Press.

"He was a very devoted detective," Joe Vannatter told AP, adding that his brother Philip had worked nearly 250 murder cases throughout his career. "The last time I saw him he had gotten a call from LAPD that they solved a homicide he was involved in 30 years ago. He took great pride in that."

Vannatter led the investigation that resulted in the arrest of Oscar-winning film director and pedophile Roman Polanski, who drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl in 1977. The detective said he found the director gripping a Quaalude, the drug he used on the victim, as he handcuffed him.

Vannatter arrested Polanski at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills, leading to an international crusade when Polanski fled to France following his conviction.

The 28-year LAPD veteran was one of the first detectives on the crime scene at former NFL player O.J. Simpson's home in 1994 after Nicole Brown Simpson, O.J.'s wife, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were found brutally murdered.

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Vannatter testified at the polarizing trial, but Simpson was acquitted.

"I don't think anybody's ever been in the news like that. ... It's history now. Obviously we're disgusted about what happened," Vannatter said in 1995 after Simpson's acquittal.

"He was very upbeat and he knew he did the right thing," Joe Vannatter said of his brother's role in the Simpson trial. "He had such thick skin. They felt that they had the right person that committed this horrendous crime."

Vannatter is survived by his wife, two children and five grandchildren.

Services will take place in Hollywood on Wednesday. A fund has in Vannatter's name has also been established with the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation.

 

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